At a U.S. Marshals Service awards ceremony Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder praised the diligence and courage of Stanley Cooper, the court security officer who died protecting the federal courthouse in Las Vegas in January.
“We’ll never know how many people he saved that winter morning, but we’ll never forget the courage he showed that day – and throughout his career. Stanley spent more than four decades in law enforcement – both as a distinguished police officer in Tulsa and Las Vegas for 30 years, and then, since 1994, helping to protect the federal courts,” Holder said in prepared remarks. “He found great purpose in his work, just as he found tremendous joy in his family, his horses, a good doughnut and a difficult crossword puzzle.”
Holder said he was grateful that Cooper’s family was on hand for the ceremony. “Marty, Daniella, Rick, Brendan and Eva, you are, and always will be, part of our Justice Department family. Know that Stanley’s quiet, steadfast example of service – as well as his sacrifice – will continue to guide and inspire our work for years to come,” he said.
Numerous other U.S. Marshals employees were honored at the 30th Annual Director’s Honorary Awards Ceremony on Tuesday.
U.S. Marshals Services Director John F. Clark told Main Justice that it was important to honor the work of U.S. Marshals “who go above and beyond the call of duty.”
Clark also said the U.S. Marshals Service is evolving to keep pace with trends, including combating the rise of threats against judges and U.S. attorneys over the past several years. The marshals have worked to increase awareness and training and technology has allowed them to better track threats which come in both verbal and written form.
Among those honored at the ceremony — which was held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va., near the U.S. Marshals Service headquarters — were the members of U.S. Marshals Service Terrorist Detainee Task Force, which was created when President Barack Obama decided to close the Guantanamo Bay prison facility.
That task force has representation from nearly every division, staff office and several districts of the U.S. Marshals Service and worked with the Defense Department, the Justice Department and the President’s Task Force on Guantanamo Bay. The task force also conducted a confidential study for Attorney General Holder of the security related to prosecution of the Sept. 11 attackers.
Three U.S. Marshals districts also were recognized during the ceremony: the Eastern District of Washington won the small district award; the District of Kansas won the medium district award; and the Eastern District of New York won the large district award.
In addition, two assistant U.S. Attorneys received awards for their work on a fugitive task force in Massachusetts. Assistant U.S. Attorney John A. Wortmann Jr. and Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn A. MacKinlay were named the law enforcement officers of the year for their work in capturing fugitives in the Northeastern U.S.
A full list of the awards distributed at the ceremony is available here.
Attorney General Eric Holder’s prepared remarks:
Thank you, Director Clark, for those kind words and for, once again, inviting me to participate in this awards ceremony. It’s a pleasure to join you and to salute the excellent work of the deputies being honored today.
For more than two centuries, the U.S. Marshals have been “First for Justice.” Every day, across the country, you serve as the first line of defense in ensuring the safety of the judiciary and protecting the judicial process; your work strengthens our nation’s security as well as the security of our communities. Whether you’re apprehending fugitives, enforcing the Adam Walsh Act, protecting witnesses, or transporting prisoners, you’re supporting the Justice Department’s #1 mission: to protect the safety of the American people. I know how difficult this work can be. I also understand how important it is. During a career spent as a Superior Court judge, U.S. Attorney, Deputy Attorney General, and now as the Attorney General, I’ve worked alongside the fine men and women of the U.S. Marshals Service. Be assured that your contributions are felt across the entire Justice Department – and far beyond.
Today, it’s my privilege to commend your work. And I’m especially grateful for this opportunity to acknowledge – and personally thank – the heroic men and women we’ve gathered to honor. This year’s award recipients have stood out, and their service embodies the Justice Department’s – and the country’s – highest ideals. I’m delighted to congratulate them, and I’m pleased that so many of their colleagues, friends, and family members have joined us for this special occasion.
This has been quite a year for the U.S. Marshals. Your work has enhanced one of our nation’s oldest, and most impressive, traditions of service. You’ve assessed potential security threats and planned and provided security for terrorist detainee trials. You’ve ensured the safety of health care providers and enforced the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. You’ve seized and managed the assets of Bernard Madoff, Allen Stanford and others engaged in financial fraud. And then you’ve sold off those properties to benefit the victims of their crimes. And, while this year has been distinguished by extraordinary achievements, it’s also been marked by great tragedy.
Today, as we celebrate your commitment to the cause of justice, we also remember our colleague, Court Security Officer Stanley Cooper – a hero who lived for, and ultimately died for, this cause. Stanley was killed this past January, as he joined other CSOs, deputies, and detention enforcement officers in defending the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse in Las Vegas against a gunman intent on taking lives. We’ll never know how many people he saved that winter morning, but we’ll never forget the courage he showed that day – and throughout his career. Stanley spent more than four decades in law enforcement – both as a distinguished police officer in Tulsa and Las Vegas for 30 years, and then, since 1994, helping to protect the federal courts. He found great purpose in his work, just as he found tremendous joy in his family, his horses, a good doughnut, and a difficult crossword puzzle.
At 72, Stanley was often asked why he chose to put his life on the line every day rather than retire. He’d reply, simply, that he was a “lawman.” As we honor this commitment, and his many contributions, I’m so grateful that Stanley’s family is here to share in this moment. Marty, Daniella, Rick, Brendan and Eva, you are, and always will be, part of our Justice Department family. Know that Stanley’s quiet, steadfast example of service – as well as his sacrifice – will continue to guide and inspire our work for years to come.
Today, I believe this work has never been more critical. Our Department is facing new demands, and our nation is confronting unprecedented challenges. But, as I look around this room and consider all that you’ve accomplished over the last year, I can’t help but feel hopeful about what we can achieve in the days ahead. Going forward, I will be counting on the talents and commitment of our Marshals Service. The American people will be counting on you, too.
Thank you all for your great work. And to each of our awardees, congratulations on a job well done and very much appreciated.